As you may have heard through various media outlets, the General Assembly/Governor have not yet reached an agreement on a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. In addition, there has been ample speculation regarding “if” or “whether” schools will be able to open in the fall due to the lack of state monies and/or budget. The fact that a budget impasse could delay the start of school, and the children we serve, is unimaginable. However, if a state budget is not passed with appropriate revenue for schools, it is a discussion that is occurring throughout the state.
The lack of state appropriation for K-12 education/schools in Fiscal Year 17 will result in dire consequences for many school districts, including District #6. At Grant Park School, we receive approximately $580,000 in state revenue that is utilized in our Education Fund and in some years, our Transportation Fund. This revenue is absolutely vital to ensure that we continue to offer a solid, educational experience at a small, rural setting. In fact, during the past five years, the state of Illinois has “prorated” (reduced) funding by nearly 10%, which has resulted in a loss of nearly $250,000 over the last five years. Further reductions, delays, or lack of any payments in general, would cause havoc in public schools.
I also want our parents to know that Grant Park School District #6 will be able to open in August, regardless if the state passes a budget and approves an appropriation. Due to a very fiscally conservative approach during the past five years, our fund reserves will be able to provide temporary stability during the Fall of 2016. However, it is critical to point out that this revenue is desperately needed and our hope (along with every other school district in Illinois) is that the General Assembly/Governor come to an agreement prior to the start of the 16-17 school year.
I encourage you to contact your politicians and explain the necessity of passing a budget that fully funds Illinois schools. I will keep you updated regarding the budget impasse, which hopefully will be solved in the immediate future. Of course, I will continue to closely monitor our fiscal condition and develop a “worst case scenario” budget for the upcoming school year.
As always, thank you for your continued support of Grant Park School District #6.
Dr. John Palan
Superintendent, Grant Park #6